Overview of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women for March 20th

With the CSW 63 still ongoing, topics ranged from societal aspects of femininity, to the effect of economic forces on the gender gap, to the role of government in advancing women’s rights. The Deputy Permanent Observer of the Holy See claimed the identity of a woman is based on her biological characteristics. He expressed his beliefs that people who do not identify with their gender make a conscious choice to do so. Mary Rice Hasson, Director of the Catholic Women’s Forum, also talked about the topic. She defined sex by the reproductive capacity of a person, but did not comment on what this meant for women born with an inability to carry a fetus or those who have gone through menopause.


Other topics touched on the economic aspects of gender inequality. The specific breakdown of these factors included ownership of enterprises, ownership of land, especially in places where it is often used as collateral, income, with women earning half of what men earn in some countries, lack of account ownership, and education. Even in places where girls receive the same amount of schooling as boys, they often score lower on literacy due to responsibilities at home and social pressure.

What are the roles of the public and private sector? A large fund in Africa, FSDT, has shown that private projects, even those in developing countries where economic problems are often more severe, can do a great deal in addressing the gap. The fund focuses on agricultural and rural finance, digital finance, enterprise finance, and insurance. It works with women in rural areas without access to financial resources. The role of government can also be pronounced. For example, Tanzania’s central government has invested in female projects, planned strategies to mobilize women, and worked on ensuring that money is given to women.

Meeting​: Overview of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women for March 20th

Date/Location​: Wednesday March 20, 2019; United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Various CSW speakers

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

Valuing Women in Global Value Chains

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations held a side event on March 17th  during the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The side event focused on the role women play in global value chains, “the full range of activities that are required to bring a product from its conception, through its design, it’s sourced raw materials and intermediate inputs, its marketing, its distribution and its support to the final consumer.”

Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli moderated and opened the side event by expressing that global value chains offer women opportunities, yet present constraints. H.E. Anne Lammila listed priorities, such as stable democracies and the supporting of businesses in developing countries, when considering policy regarding the empowerment of women and global value chains. H.E. Lammila also expressed that although it is important to tackle issues concerning working conditions, international trade has increased employment for women, empowers women with better wages than traditional domestic work, and provides independence.

Following, Mr. Joakim Reiter shared UNCTAD’s gender sensitive lens. He reiterated that there are both pros and cons for women in global value chains, highlighting issues like the consolidation of farms, increased use of pesticides in commercial farming, and the lack of labor rights for women. Mr. Reiter detailed that in order to address these issues in global value chains, the “pandora’s box” of women’s issues must be opened. Next, Ms. Sheba Tejani shared her views about the impact of industrial upgrading, and its impact on gender inequality. She spoke of economic and social upgrading that must be done in global value chains. She used Kenya’s flower industry as an example of this.

Meeting: Trade and global value chains: how to address the gender dimension?

Date/Location: Thursday, March 17th, 2016; 11:30-12:45; Conference Room A, UN Headquarters, New York, New York

Speakers:  Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Section, and Gender Focal Point;  H.E. Anne Lammila, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women’s Issues and Gender Equality of Finland; Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD; Sheba Tejani, Assistant Professor, Political Economy, New School

Written By: WIT Representative Yume Murphy

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick